Aerial Video Systems Rings in New Year for ABC

For the 40th anniversary of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, ABC selected Aerial Video Systems (AVS) to provide RF coverage of the quintessential New Year’s Eve party originating from Times Square in New York City.

ABC wanted the hosts, Ryan Seacreast and Jenny McCarthy, to be able to report unencumbered by cables along Broadway from 42nd to 47th Streets.  The directive from ABC was to have uninterrupted and robust RF coverage throughout the Square.  They also wanted an elevated camera position to capture the scope of the party and to feed live programming to three of the monster-sized HD big screens encircling Times Square.

For the roving HD RF cameras, AVS outfitted two steadicam units with their customized Sony P-1 camera configuration along with the Link Research L1500 HD microwave systems.  AVS pioneered the adaptation of the P-1 to the steadicam and it has the lightest and most ergonomic profile in the industry.  The steadicams were also equipped with wireless tele-prompters for the talent.

A wireless program return monitor system accompanied each unit and permited the hosts to interact more naturally with each other.  A third roving camera was an ABC provided Sony 1500, which was married to a Link L1500 transmitter and camera battery via a customized AVS camera bracket.  Continuous Wireless coverage for the five block party was made possible by use of the AVS proprietary RF over Fiber system which connected the remote antenna sites placed along Broadway to the ABC control point.

Times Square on New Year’s Eve can pose frequency challenges.  To alleviate interference issues, AVS coordinated and licensed military test flight telemetry frequencies in the 1.4GHz and 2.3GHz band through AFTRCC and the FCC.  These frequencies were used for the three roving RF cameras, prompter and return video feeds.   Per the ABC directive, the RF was continuously rock solid throughout the broadcast.

“The show was flawless,” said Geoff Howe, AVS’ director of engineering.

To capture the spectacle of Times Square for the nearly 23 million television viewers, AVS deployed a Sony 1500 at the top of the Marriott Hotel.  The signal for this camera was sent from the hotel roof back to ABC’s control room via the Link L1500 7GHz transmitter.

“It was a great way to ring in the New Year,” said Randy Hermes, president of AVS.

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